2 Samuel 17:1

(1) Pursue after David this night.--Ahithophel saw clearly that Absalom's success depended on striking an immediate blow. He felt confident, and perhaps with reason, that David in his distress and weariness was in no condition to resist a sudden onset. That he was wise in his counsel is made plain by the opposition of Hushai and the anxiety to send tidings to David with all speed. "This night" is generally taken to mean the night of the day on which David left Jerusalem; but from 2Samuel 17:16 and 2Samuel 15:28 it appears that he was already encamped by the fords of the Jordan, a greater distance than he could have accomplished in one day's march.

17:1-21 Here was a wonderful effect of Divine Providence blinding Absalom's mind and influencing his heart, that he could not rest in Ahithophel's counsel, and that he should desire Hushai's advice. But there is no contending with that God who can arm a man against himself, and destroy him by his own mistakes and passions. Ahithophel's former counsel was followed, for God intended to correct David; but his latter counsel was not followed, for God meant not to destroy him. He can overrule all counsels. Whatever wisdom or help any man employs or affords, the success is from God alone, who will not let his people perish.Moreover, Ahithophel said unto Absalom,.... Either at the same time, or quickly after he had given the foregoing advice:

let me now choose out twelve thousand men: out of those that were with Absalom, which shows their number to be large; and twelve thousand are pitched upon with respect to the twelve tribes of Israel, a thousand from every tribe; Josephus has only ten thousand:

and I will arise and pursue after David this night; he took upon him to be general of the army, as well as a counsellor; or this he said to show how confident he was of the success of his counsel, that if Absalom, or any other, should decline the conduct of the army upon it, as a hazardous attempt, he would undertake it himself; or rather it may be, he was not willing that Absalom should go out in person with the army, not so much for his own safety, as lest through his affection for the king he should spare him, when he fell into his hands, or they two should be reconciled; he proposed to do it that night, partly for expedition, no time being to be lost, and partly for the greater surprise of David and his men.

2 Samuel 16:23
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